Geylang (Yálóng) 芽笼 - Vice on the rise?
An undercurrent of fear in Geylang? I think they mean the fear at the periphery and beyond Geylang. If you must insist that there is fear in Geylang then I will concede that it is the men in blue that are afraid. It may be the only place in our small island where police officers risk getting a beating anytime they perform their duties.
So I wish the ST would be more to the point. We don't even need to visit Geylang to figure this out. But to suggest that the policemen are afraid in Geylang is terrible for public confidence, and better left unsaid and silently imputed by readers.
Now we have every reason to be angry why the Minister for Home Affairs allow the situation to deteriorate to such a sorry state. Wong Kan Seng and Ho Peng Kee have more to answer than the escape of Mas Selamat. Meanwhile what is Teo Chee Hean doing about this, and why didn't Jayakumar do something when he was the senior minister in charge of security? If they could brush off a Sylvia Lim questions on this subject, it is really telling us we need to install more Sylvia Lims in Parliament to keep the government more honest and responsible.
Hundreds of hours of meetings with various agencies to deal with the problems of the red-light district.
Despite this, there is still no “concrete action plan” to deal with the situation in Geylang, wrote Associate Professor Fatimah Lateef, Member of Parliament (MP) for Marine Parade GRC, in a lengthy post made on her personal Facebook page yesterday.
The strongly worded post, which is only visible to her friends’ list and still online as of 7pm yesterday, highlights “for the first time” her full efforts to clean up the area.
Geylang was never this 'lawless'
When showed a video clip taken in Geylang last Wednesday, the retired senior police officer was shocked
John, who asked not to be named, initially thought he was being shown a video clip taken in a neighbouring country.
Scores of prostitutes could be seen loitering the streets while men haggled with pimps.
“It can’t be,” John said yesterday. “Are you sure this is Geylang?
Geylang residents gather to stamp out neighbourhood sleaze
GEYLANG residents are moving to reclaim the night
Fed-up with prostitutes spilling over from the traditional red-light area and plying their trade in just about every dimly-lit alley in the neighbourhood, the residents are taking to the streets themselves.
Their plan has been to light up the streets, throw some parties and stage community events to deny prostitutes the space to operate and claim back territory.
The latest salvo in the 'turf war' came on Friday night, when the Member of Parliament for the area, Fatimah Lateef, lit up a 300m stretch of alleyway between Lorong 34 and 36, where streetwalkers are known to roam.
related: Brighter backlanes, more CCTVs to help police keep crime in Geylang
Step up safety in Geylang, say MPs, grassroots leaders
Police Tactical Unit officers on patrol at Geylang Road at 2am on March 29, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
Geylang Members of Parliament and grassroots leaders want more done to keep the area safe, and say the measures should go beyond ramping up police patrols.
Moulmein-Kallang GRC MP Edwin Tong wants fewer alcohol licences issued, stricter operating hours for businesses near residential estates, and a stop to foreign worker dormitories sprouting near Housing Board flats.
Associate Professor Fatimah Lateef, MP for Marine Parade GRC, who has overseen a series of measures such as lighting up dark alleys, believes a comprehensive review is needed.
Geylang – MP expresses frustration, wants “major clean up”
In a rather frustrated posting online, a Member of Parliament (MP) for Marine Parade GRC has lashed out at the authorities for the “very long” wait “for the higher authorities to effect the change” she has been asking for in Geylang.
“As an action oriented person who expects results,” MP for Geylang Serai, Fatimah Lateef, posted on her Facebook page, “I have indeed waited very long for higher authorities to effect the change I, my grassroots leaders and my residents want to see.”
Geylang, popularly seen as Singapore’s red light district, was cast into the spotlight two weeks ago when Police Commissioner Ng Joo Hee described it as having “a hint of lawlessness within the streets of Geylang.”
When will the government listen?
Fatimah Lateef is one flustered and exasperated politician. The MP for Marine Parade GRC has been crying out loud about the nocturnal activities going on in her Geylang ward since 2012. Nothing much was done.
Then the Police Commissioner went to the Commission of Inquiry on the Little India riot and talked about Geylang as the next tinderbox if nothing was done. Suddenly, Geylang has become the constituency to watch.
But Fatimah’s constituents have made posts regularly in her Facebook.
“I have been observing the prostitutes for the past six months and this time there is a mix of Chinese and Vietnamese girls loitering around after 10 pm. Can you please help?” wrote Francis Chan in October 2011.read more
MP Fatimah Lateef goes all vigilante on seedy GeylangMP Fatimah Lateef’s frustration with the authorities shows that she is one of us, after all
Last week, police chief Ng Joo Hee said in the Little India Committee of Inquiry (COI) hearings that there exists a hint of lawlessness in Geylang.
Marine Parade GRC MP Fatimah Lateef, the MP in charge of Geylang, is not happy with the situation.
In fact, she is so frustrated with the tardiness of the authorities to act that she decided to do what most Singaporeans do nowadays: Complain on Facebook.
Fatimah Lateef & Her Curious Outburst
Geylang Serai MP Fatimah Lateef put out a strange outburst yesterday on her Facebook.
In a lengthy account on her page, she defended her work on the ground to address the “lawlessness” in Geylang that was publicly aired by Police Commissioner Ng Joo Hee during the Little India riot COI.
According to her, she had been patrolling the streets with her grassroots, at least twice a week, and had been holding “regular, roving dialogues with different groups in a targeted way, including pub managers”.
Measures taken to maintain law & order in Geylang
Authorities remain committed to maintaining law and order in Geylang, and will take additional measures where necessary.
Second Home Affairs Minister S Iswaran gave this assurance on Monday, as he responded to a parliamentary question from the area's Member of Parliament Fatimah Lateef, who wanted an update on the management of disamenities caused by vice activities.
Measures undertaken by the police include increasing manpower. The Geylang Neighbourhood Police Centre has about 160 officers - 60 per cent more than staffing in other centres.
Police in control of situation in Geylang, says NPC commanding officer
Sustained enforcement efforts in Geylang have placed a strain on police resources, but the men in blue say they are in control of the crime situation in the area.
This was reinforced by the Commanding Officer of Geylang Neighbourhood Police Centre (NPC) on Thursday.
Superintendent Loh Kah Wai said: "In tandem with the population growth, the crowd at Geylang has got bigger. This presents a lucrative market which attracts naturally more unsavoury characters with criminal intentions."
The trouble with Geylang, and why it’s a “potential powder keg”
Police Commissioner Ng Joo Hee said policing Geylang is a challenge as all the indicators for potential trouble are in the area. He also pointed to a hint of “lawlessness” within its streets, calling it a “potential powder keg”.
The crime rate in both Little India and Geylang has dropped steadily over the years. But Geylang’s numbers remain high, with the crimes committed there including robbery, outrage of modesty and murder.
Public order offences like rioting are also higher in Geylang, compared to other areas.
‘Little Chinatown’ Geylang is a potential powder keg
There’s no question that the Lorongs are where resentment of authority is rampant. In 2007, a crowd of 200 gathered around 4 undercover police officers on an illegal gambling raid operation and threw rubbish and beer bottles at them, forcing one officer to draw his weapon on one of the men in the crowd. It had all the makings of a full blown riot, though today we’re unlikely to see the level of violence of the secret society clashes in the 1920s, where the police don’t just get glasses and rocks tossed at them, but BOMBS as well. There’s no evidence that alcohol had anything to do with these events, though some shopkeepers admit that vice is a crowd-puller and good for business.
Geylang may be called ‘Little Chinatown’ today, but according to some sociologists in 2009, Geylang was already the NEW Chinatown when PRCs started flocking to the area to set up shop, while its older sibling with its annual gaudy CNY decorations has morphed into a tourist town, today complete with giant LCD advertising screens and a ‘food street’ that’s clearly designed to draw tourists on a hawker mecca. We’ve already lost our vintage Bugis Street, we don’t want the same fate to fall on ‘Little Chinatown’ now, do we?
The police may think that Geylang, with all its vice and sleaze, is a time bomb waiting to explode. Residents worry about their wives or daughters when they go out at night. But to anyone with a sense of history or adventure, the ‘unsavoury’ nature of Geylang is part of its gritty, trashy charm, a seedy side of Singapore that remains largely unsanitised and brimming with a thrilling sense of ghetto sprawl and chaos, like the Chinese Harlem except that the only protection you need is not a personal weapon, but personal contraception. It has even been called a mini ‘United Nations’ of street-walkers. This is a place you won’t see on our tourist brochures, but any Singaporean will try to tempt a foreigner to have a taste of it. With a nudge and a wink of course.
GEYLANG, RED-LIGHT DISTRICT IN SQUEAKY CLEAN SINGAPORE
Geylang is also a red-light district of Singapore. Thousands of Asian prostitutes mostly from other countries like Thailand, Indonesia, China and Malaysia work in Geylang, and visitors and locals alike flock to the area each evening and stay till morning.
The district is home to hundreds of brothels. Some are regulated, while others operate behind the scenes illegally.
The houses in Geylang operating in sex practices are easily identifiable; their house numbers are large and bright red. As many as a dozen girls work out of each house, and the operating hours tend to be 14:00-3:00.
Singapore's seedy side
Yet here we are on a Friday night in the suburb of Geylang and the place is pumping. Traffic is at a standstill, a sea of taxis flash red "hired" lights, scooters zip in and out, and pedestrians cut jagged paths through the mess.
There's barely room to walk on the pavement, with the shops' wares spilling out, the plastic tables from restaurants and the sheer volume of people trying to get from one place to another in the muggy evening heat. Sheena doesn't seem fazed, though. "Just up here," she assures me, motioning up the packed street that's lined with karaoke joints and restaurants, footpath bars and cafes.
It seems fitting that Singapore's seediest locale would have some ridiculously good food. There aren't many red-light districts in the world that have more restaurants than sleazy clubs but these guys take their eating seriously.
Head to Geylang for a gay time
Building on its history of prostitution and triads, this red light district has evolved into a mini United Nations of sorts. SEVERAL Singaporean housewives, as strait-laced and as prim-and-proper as they came, surprised me recently when they proposed to organise a bus tour of the city's hot sex-spot.
"We've heard so much about Geylang and we want to see it," said a retired teacher. Would I - being a know-it-all journalist - be the guide? she asked to the applause of all. The tour hasn't taken place yet but given the curiosity of these friends, I'm pretty sure one day it will.
These are half a dozen of the society's most conservative senior citizens, some of them church-going grandmothers. So what propelled them to want to visit the capital of Singapore's sex industry? The place is not only renowned for its women but also for the hawker delicacies that have added up to make it a potential tourist icon.
Go to Geylang for feel of real Chinatown
On the final day, they wanted to eat durians, so I took them to Geylang
After five minutes there, they wanted to know more about the area. I told them Geylang is famous for the food, durians and its red-light district.
Then they said "this is the real Chinatown, and Singapore should rename it New Chinatown".
I looked around me and couldn't help but agree with them.
GEYLANG: The new CHINATOWN
Good place to work but not to live
Ask Hebei native Albert Li where the real 'tang ren jie' or Chinatown, is in Singapore, and he will tell you confidently that it is in Geylang.
'Among the Chinese nationals here, we have privately discussed this many times,' he said in Mandarin. 'Geylang is more like a 'tang ren jie' than Chinatown. There must be more Chinese nationals living and working here than in Chinatown,' said the 25-year-old.
Look beyond the vice and streetwalkers and you will find a food haven bar none. Go beyond the streetwalkers, and Geylang's wonderful side shows up.
People flock to this nearly 2km stretch to eat famous food like fermented tofu, frog’s leg porridge and claypot rice. Eateries here have been featured in the New York Times.
Besides fantastic food, it's quickly turning to a destination for those whose jobs end late. After a late dinner or supper they can opt to have a manicure, have their hair styled or shop for pants, groceries at 1 am.
Geylang - hard to forget, hard to resist
No Name Karaoke keeps trouble out by being vigilant on the customers they allow into their KTV, says owner Ang Chee Boon
I am a Geylang brat. A good part of my childhood was spent running on the streets surrounding Geylang Square, where my family and I used to live in a two-room HDB flat.
It explains why I feel an inextricable link to the place that stretches from Lorong 1 to Lorong 41. I don't remember the 'sin city' label that was tagged to the place.
Instead, my memory is filled with the rustic charm of old buildings, welding factories and streets filled with good food.
'If you have a daughter, you worry, worry, worry'
Engineer John Yeo moved to Geylang as a newly-wed 15 years ago. Now a father of two, the 42-year-old cannot wait to move out.
He and his wife never used to mind walking down streets filled with sex workers, pirated CD sellers and gamblers. As a young couple, they found it all novel and appealing. "I didn't mind it. And my wife's even braver than me," he said.
"When we were younger, sometimes men would stop her to ask, 'How much?' She would scold them!"
PROSTITUTES - Many of these women come from China and Vietnam and are said to be here on social visit passes, which means it is illegal for them to work here.
Food in Geylang is definitely savoury.
Peddlers sell illegal sex pills along the streets.
Police regularly bust illegal gambling dens that operate within shophouses in Geylang.
Crime 'rife' in Geylang
Geylang is a hot spot of illegal gambling, street cons, contraband cigarette peddling and drug dealing, Commissioner of Police Ng Joo Hee told the Committee of Inquiry hearings into the Little India riot last Tuesday.
"Today, despite the riot in Little India, I worry more for Geylang than about Serangoon Road," he said. Mr Ng noted the "overt hostility and antagonism towards the police" in Geylang, all of which make the district "a potential powder keg".
"It is common knowledge that the gangsters and the crooks like to congregate in Geylang. So all in all, Geylang presents an ecosystem which is complex, which is tinged with a certain criminal undertone, and this is quite in contrast with Little India, although Little India also has changed," he said.
Vice, Vice paradise
They haggle over price in front of camera
It did not bother them that the backlane was brightly-lit. They also didn't mind that a surveillance camera was pointed in their direction from about 10m away.
With brazen disregard, the 10 streetwalkers, dressed in tank tops and hot pants, or tight dresses to accentuate their figures, went about their trade.
Near them were three foreign men whose job was to promote their range of sexual services.
Need for tougher action against illegal sex trade
What is baffling is the openness with which human traffickers appear to operate in Singapore when, in many other countries, their activities tend to be much more hidden. It begs the question of why law enforcement has not effectively addressed the problem.
To make matters more complicated, many girls who are tricked or coerced into coming to Singapore for purportedly legitimate jobs have their passports taken away once they cross the border. Later, they may be arrested during police raids, but end up being released within a day or two with a temporary pass that does not allow them to work in Singapore.
Being sent back to the streets — instead of being allowed to return home — without any means to support themselves means they will become victims of other pimps. Their plight can be seen all over Geylang, as they stand openly on the streets soliciting, with pimps who seem to have nothing to fear.
Geylang's changing image sparks property market revival
Analysts say Geylang's changing image has revived interest in the property market over the last few years.
This is bolstered by the fact that private properties there, which are just a stone’s throw from the downtown area, are affordable to those looking to upgrade from a HDB flat, as well as for investors.
Central Imperial in Lorong 14 is one of the newest private residential properties in Geylang. It is among the pockets of small developments sprouting up, signalling a rejuvenated interest in the area.
The savoury side of Geylang
The unsavoury reputation of Geylang did not put restaurateur Sally Packire off. She feels it is a goldmine.
"There is good human traffic and while there are many coffee shops selling Indian fare, we did our homework and found there was no restaurant offering Indian cuisine," says Ms Packire, 41.
So, six months ago, she and a close friend, who wanted to be known only as Mr Guruu, poured in $150,000 to open their second Buhari Restaurant in Geylang, near Lorong 42.
related: bringing ritzy into the sleazy
$2.2 billion plan to transform Geylang
By 2034, Geylang will cease to be an area of concern. The Commissioner of Police recently told the Committee of Inquiry on the Little India riot that he was more worried about Geylang than Little India. His worries were unnecessary.
There are big plans to transform the red-light district into a deluxe high-end neighbourhood, combining the timeless appeal of the surrounding with modern facilities and attractions
Geylang (Yálóng) 芽笼
Geylang is a neighbourhood in the city-state of Singapore east of the Central Area, Singapore's central business district. It is located to the east of the Singapore River, an area that locals have associated, from the days of Sir Stamford Raffles, as a Malay kampong opposite facing two islands Batin and Rokok (where the former National Stadium used to stand), reclaimed to make space for Singapore's first commercial airport opened in 1937.
The airport control tower has been preserved that served, in its day, as an observation deck and is today used by the People's Association. The location of Old Airport Road bears witness to the fact that Geylang, under the British administration, was thought to be outside the limits of the city proper and, therefore, suitable for the siting of Singapore's first commercial airport.
The hangars for repair for the light aircraft can still be seen today that have been slated by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) for redevelopment into commercial and shopping precincts linked by the nearby Kallang MRT station.
"The police arrested 61 foreign nationals in the forested areas along Punggol on Friday night for being allegedly involved in illicit activities.
Police said in a statement on Saturday that the suspects, comprising men and women, are "believed to have used the cover of the forest for various illicit activities such as vice and gambling".
In the raid, which involved officers from the Ang Mo Kio Police Division, Criminal Investigation Department and Gurkha Contingent, the foreign nationals were arrested for wilful trespass on state land or offences under the Women's Charter. If found guilty, they can be fined up to $1,000. Full story
50 arrested in Sembawang brothel raid
On Tuesday, police officers raided the brothel in the forested area along Sembawang Drive and arrested about 40 men and 10 women. The women, mostly clad in revealing tops and skimpy shorts, were led away to police cars. Several of the men were topless when arrested.
The ground was littered with tissue paper, water bottles and open condom wrappers. Tarpaulin sheets were hung up to create three small rooms in the makeshift brothel.
Some office workers in the nearby Admirax building, which is facing the forested area, were shocked to hear about the police raid.
THE four policemen went undercover to look for illegal activities in a Geylang backlane.
But the operation quickly turned ugly when they arrested one person at a makeshift gambling stall.
A crowd of about 200 people gathered around the officers and threw whatever they could lay their hands on, such as beer bottles and glasses, rocks and even rubbish.
Woman resists arrest, bites cop
First, she pleaded, then she struggled, finally she bared her fangs and sank her teeth into the hand of a police officer.
This was what happened when a young Vietnamese woman aggressively resisted arrest despite being outnumbered by police officers in Geylang. She was among a group of women, believed to be prostitutes, fleeing from the police at Geylang Lorong 24 and Jalan Suka at around 10am on Sunday.
A witness said the woman bit the left hand of the cop three or four times until blood could be seen.
Clutching her handbag to her chest, she was at a loss for words
Sweat trickled down her heavily made-up face as a policewoman ordered her to sit on the ground.
The slim, tan-complexioned woman, who looked to be in her early 30s, was dressed in a tight sleeveless top and a skimpy pair of shorts that barely covered her bottom.
She shot the policewoman an anguished look. However, she had no choice but to obey.
Had she been Singaporean, she might have recognised two familiar faces among a group of about 10 police officers at Lorong 24 Geylang in the early hours of Saturday
Police arrest 43 in Geylang vice syndicate crackdown
Officers from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on Wednesday arrested nine men and 34 women during a crackdown on a vice syndicate operating in Geylang.
Police said in a news release that those arrested were aged between 18 and 65, and they were nabbed at a terrace house in Joo Chiat.
Police seized the syndicate's records, several SIM cards, and about S$50,000 in Singapore and foreign currencies.
46 arrested for illegal employment at Geylang entertainment outlets
A total of 46 people were arrested in a police operation which ended early this morning
In an eight hour operation involving officers from Bedok Police Division and the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), enforcement checks were carried out at public entertainment outlets in Geylang.
During the operation, 46 suspects - comprising of 45 female foreigners and one male foreigner - were arrested for unlawful employment offences.
The ages of those arrested ranged between 18 and 30.
50 foreign nationals arrested after 4-day police bust at Geylang and Joo Chiat night spots
A total of 50 persons were arrested in Police Operations targeting four public entertainment outlets from 4 June 2013 to 7 June 2013.
The Operations, led by from Bedok Police Division, carried out enforcement checks at four public entertainment outlets located along Joo Chiat Road and Geylang. A total of 50 persons, comprising of 49 female foreigners and 1 male foreigner aged between 18 and 37, were arrested for unlawful employment offences. Police also issued summons under the Public Entertainment Meeting Act to all the four entertainment outlets.
This is part of ongoing Police enforcement efforts to clamp down on criminal activities at entertainment outlets and serves as a warning that those who conduct such illicit activities will be dealt with in accordance with the law.
143 nabbed in 12-hour op
Police nabbed 143 people suspected of various offences, including vice-related activities, in a series of raids that lasted 12-hours and ended yesterday morning.
The raids were conducted in Geylang and entertainment outlets and back alleys in the Orchard and Bugis areas.
The Geylang raid attracted much attention from shopowners. While residents in the area welcome the police raids, some shopowners said the increased raids have affected their businesses.
9 men arrested over fight in Geylang after woman was allegedly molested
A brawl in Geylang, which involved about 20 people, on Tuesday night (Aug 12) left nine men arrested and at least three injured
According to a report on Lianhe Wanbao via MyPaper, the fight in Jalan Molek started after a foreign worker allegedly molested a woman, thought to be a prostitute. Eyewitnesses said that a drunk worker allegedly touched a streetwalker's chest.
Angered, she fought back and even kicked him, and the two started fighting. A man who was acting as a "lookout" for the girls went to her aid.
The worker then called out to his friends who were nearby for help.
Teen put on probation for helping to run 2 brothels
Photo of the red light district in Geylang
A teenager who helped to run two brothels but was never paid for doing so was placed on probation yesterday.
Jaryl Tan Wencong, 19, committed 11 offences of living off prostitution earnings and helping to manage two operations in Geylang and a flat in District 9.
He admitted two charges: helping to run the brothel in Chateau Eliza in Mount Elizabeth; and meeting a Thai woman at Changi Airport, knowing she was procured for prostitution here.
Two foreigners found dead at Geylang hotel
Two foreigners, a man and a woman, were found dead at a Geylang hotel last night.
The police said they received a call at around 7.45pm, requesting assistance at Hotel 81 Palace along Lorong 16 Geylang. Upon arrival, they found a 31-year-old man and a 29-year-old woman motionless in a room at the hotel. TODAY understands both are work-permit holders. The man is believed to be from India and the woman from Indonesia.
It is believed that the woman had visible wounds on her body and there were blood stains in several areas, including the bathroom. Both were pronounced dead at the scene.
related: Two found dead in Geylang hotel
Geylang (Yálóng) 芽笼
FOOD: Food in Geylang is definitely savoury. Exotic dishes like frog porridge and kung pao-styled frog from Shi Sheng Claypot Frog make it an oasis of genteel activity in Singapore's centre of sin.
SEX PILLS: Peddlers sell illegal sex pills along the streets. These adulterated pills cost between $5 & $80, but the Health Sciences Authority has warned against the use and sale of such drugs. Several people have died from taking such pills.
GAMBLING DENS: Police regularly bust illegal gambling dens that operate within shophouses in Geylang. In July, police arrested 7 people and seized cash amounting to about $490 at a shophouse on Geylang Road.